Nancy Forrester was born beside the Susquehanna River in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
on July 29 1938. As a youth she played in a beautiful region scarred by early
indiscriminate logging and strip mining. She lived on a farm called Orchard Hill located in
Bald EagleValley in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. Her earliest recollection
and puzzlement as a child was not being allowed to go near or swim in the shallow gentle
water of the wide River that so magnificently defined the area. "It's unsafe" she was told.
"It is because the banks of the river are leaking raw sewage and the closed coal mines
upstream are flooded and leaching acids into the river" her mother warned. Pollution
undetectable to the eye and descriptions of microscopic toxins were a strange
wonderment to the small child who peered into a barren watery landscape, too perfectly
crystal clear looking for signs of life, water plants, turtles, beetles, snails and strides.
They were non existent!
In her back yard she looked for diminished quail, pheasant, wood ducks, red fox, it was
easier to find lichen, arrow heads, fossilized shells, than the once abundant trailing
arbutus, and ground orchids. She became gravely aware of endangered plants and
animals in the sparse felled woods, abandoned fields, in the atrophic green algae blooms
in Fishing Creek from fertilizer and farm runoff. She learned at an early age the
necessity of healthy BIOS-systems and to respect and protect the inviable and maligned
bats, skunks, possums, snakes and spiders.
Her grandparents on both sides had farms with live stock, vegetable and flower gardens.
Her mother was a zoologist with a passionate interest in birds and American shells and
the microscopic. Her father was an outdoors man and naturalist. The family spent a lot of
time outdoors observing and teaching. They explored flora and fauna in the Pennsylvania
woods, meadows, creeks and river and in the early 50's the Florida Keys, islands,
hammocks and flats and reefs of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
She attended 7th and 8th grade in a one room school house in Marathon, Fl. The
principle Mr Guthrie focused lessons on the surrounding natural world rather than the
formal studies of sentence diagramming.
She attended summer school at Penn State University taking art history and painting
classes from famed art teacher Hobson Pitman on loan each summer from the
Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts.
She graduated from the School of Architecture and Design in 1961, with a B.S. in Design
from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. She majored in painting at a time when
abstract expressionism was being taught and all her instructors were male. She minored
After graduation she moved to in New York City where she lived on the lower east side
with fellow artists and sold her work in several Greenwich Village Art Galleries.
Nancy and wildlife artist George L. Schelling opened an art gallery in Clinton, N.J. in the
Nancy paintings are of lessor known plants and animals and BIOS systems Nancy
describes herself as a patternist.
Nancy won the National Academy of Design Purchase award in late sixties for the Henry
Ward Ranger Fund for 24xtoday shelor "Black Organic Form"
Nancy moved to Key West, Florida in 1969 where she remains today she opened an art
gallery of Botanical and Zoological Paintings in 1975 which continues to this day. She
shows antique and contemporary environmental art.
Nancy has been a mentor to creative people for 35 years. By sharing her lifestyle, her
philosophy, her art, her home, guest cottage and garden with creative people, visionary
thinkers, and naturalists. She has sought to elevate the role of artists in society
especially environment artists and activate humans to save what is left of the natural
In 1993 she opened a site to the public for an experience on which she performed which
came to be known as Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden Land Art Dec 1993 - Dec 2003
Nancy is Creator and President of Mana Project 501(c)(3) Mana is a Polynesian word
meaning positive creative force. Mana's mission is to preserve a piece of Land Art
known as Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden for the benefit of the earth, the arts, and the
artist. To serve the community and visiting public as site dedicated to environmental
educational in order to create activists.
She currently lives and works at her home/studio in Key West, Fl
She is presently working on a book called Beauty with a Purpose Garden Games and
Extinction Jokes based on her interaction with the public Piece Called Nancy Forrester
Secret Garden for ten years.)